Grantland's Barnwell usually does a great job, and despite his NFL trade value column being more of a copy-cat of Bill Simmons's NBA version, and more useless since NFL player trades are rare, it's still a fun read. Part 2 (The Top 30) was released today, featured 3 Panthers, and is sure to enrage the Huddle at one point specifically. Keep in mind, trade value takes into account performance AND contract, not just who is the better player.
25. Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina
Hardy, meanwhile, will make more with the franchise tag this year ($13.1 million) than Clowney will make over the next two and a half seasons combined. You would rather have Hardy in a vacuum because the 25-year-old has actually done it at the pro level, having produced a DPOY-caliber season with 15 sacks a year ago, but there’s a good chance Clowney actually outproduces Hardy next year at a fraction of the cost. Actually, switch these two up. Clowney’s at 25 and Hardy’s at 26.
24. Luke Kuechly, MLB, Carolina
Carolina’s playmaker and defensive leader, Kuechly was a worthy choice as Defensive Player of the Year in his second season as a pro. Blessedly for Carolina’s still-terrible cap situation, Kuechly is two years removed from a serious raise and still has three cost-controlled years left before he’ll be due an extension, at which point Carolina’s cap woes should finally be over. The reason he’s not higher is simply that teams don’t value middle linebackers all that much; it’s why Kuechly, who just about everyone agreed was a star heading into the 2012 draft, fell to the Panthers at nine. This is about as high as it gets for players at a non-premium position; after Kuechly, 22 of the final 23 selections play one of the five critical positions in the modern pass-first game (quarterback, wide receiver, left tackle, pass-rusher, and cornerback).
Luke is too low, IMO, but he makes his case based on MLB being devalued. Now, for the part I can't agree with (as I'm sure most will agree with me)...
6. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina
5. Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco
I'll link because this section is lengthy, but his points essentially are, Kaep's wins in the playoffs (I say his team moreso than him, though he's done well), the contract (Kaep's team friendly deal, opposed to Cam's future one), and the last two reasons are "silly" IMO. Carolina hasn't put a team around Cam (due to salary cap issues), and Cam's "lack of growth". Barnwell is by no means a Cam hater so don't get these last two twisted. He's basically just saying Cam has always been good and his media portrayed struggles were silly and overblown. Of course, Regardless, a fun read if nothing else but for the Carolina content.